Basic Beats: How to Practice Quarter Notes and Eighth Notes

We've already sung and clapped quarter notes and eighth notes this week. We also can recognize when we hear one sound on a beat and when we hear two sounds on a beat. 

Now we're ready to add a symbol for quarter notes and eighth notes. 

We do this by reviewing what we learned last time, connecting it to a symbol, and practicing with another known song. 

Let's get to it! 

1. Review

Sing "Snail, Snail" with your child today while you keep a steady beat. Let him or her tell you where he hears one sound or two sounds on a heartbeat. 

2. From Sound to Symbol

Now that we remember what one or two sounds on a beat feels like, we're ready to show what it looks like.

Use this printable to show sounds on a heartbeat. Point to the words while you sing the song and then ask your child to check the printable to see if it looks right to him. 

You can "check" by catching the words like we have done in previous posts. 


3. Practice with Another Known Song 

Your child probably knows the song, Rain Rain Go Away already. 

Sing it together while you keep a steady beat. Invite your child to listen for one or two sounds on a beat. Try "catching words" to help figure this out if needed.

Then, print out this worksheet and cut out the raindrops. Sing the song while you point to the hearts. Let your child place the raindrops over the hearts to map out the rhythm of the song. 

You can help walk your child through this process by singing the song with him and pointing at the steady beat if he gets stuck. Then ask him to listen for how many sounds he hears on the beat. 

And There You Have It!

A great way to practice reading quarter note and eighth note rhythms. Don't worry that we're not actually using the traditional notation for these rhythms. That will come later. For now, your child has practiced audiating (hearing in his head) a rhythm and is able to dictate it on paper. That's a great start to music literacy! 

Keep singing,
- Victoria